The mystery of the self-service supermarket checkout

The mystery of the self-service supermarket checkout

I find supermarket self-service checkouts completely mystifying. Is it just me?

The first mystery is, of course, how to get through them unscathed.

There they are, in the face of long checkout queues, all innocent looking and empty.  They lure you in on the promise of making your shopping experience quicker and easier and before you know it, they are screaming at you that there is an unexpected item in the bagging area and things start to go down from there.

It politely asks you to confirm if you are using your own bags, which being environmentally minded (and refusing to pay 5 pence each time) I do. I place them in the packing area and press the button.  I scan my first item and the fun begins.

There is an unexpected item in the bagging area.

No.  No there isn’t.  It is the bag that I had just confirmed I had placed there.

Then you wait patiently for the poor harassed assistant who clearly rues the fact that they are on self-service checkouts to come and look at your bag and get things moving again.

You get a few things through and you think you are on roll.

There is an unexpected item in the bagging area.

No.  There really is not.  I would love something unexpected.  ‘Unexpected’ sounds exciting and surprising.  No chance.  It is far likely to be a pint of milk or some tampons.  Not really unexpected at all. Then it tells you to remove the item to continue.  So you pick up the item and still it isn’t happy.  Oh no.

I spend more time at the self-service till waiting for the assistant to come and ‘rescue’ me that it would have been quicker to go and stand in the long queue.

You scan everything through and think that you are home and dry.  Not a chance.  If you have bought anything that requires you to be a certain age, even though you passed that age more years ago than you choose to remember, you wait again.  By now, you feel like you are on first name terms with the poor assistant who has to come over and scrutinize you quickly to check that you really are 18 or 21.

Finally, you pay and you are free to go.  It feels like a life sentence. Why, why, why did I choose to go to the self-service checkout anyway?

But that, of course, is the real mystery.  This happens to me every time I use self-service checkouts, yet I pop in for a few things and where do I end up each time? The self-service checkouts of course.

The mystery of the self-service supermarket checkout

The mystery of the self-service supermarket checkout
Article Name
The mystery of the self-service supermarket checkout
Those self-service checkouts lure you in on the promise of getting your shopping scanned and paid for in a flash, but it never quite works like that does it?
Publisher Name
Stressy Mummy


  1. Elaine
    March 13, 2019 / 11:27 am

    Me too I get so flustered at these checkouts almost as much as I do trying to check out at Aldi. I will only to an Aldi shop if I have another pair of hands with me . Hope you are ok .

  2. March 13, 2019 / 1:41 pm

    Same here. Every flipping time. My favourite is when I put down something really light, like a birthday card, and it assumes it isn’t there and refuses to budge until the assistant has been over. Our local Sainsbury’s always has a remarkable number out of order – so you see a short queue for six tills, but actually only three of them are working!

  3. March 14, 2019 / 4:00 pm

    Oh I avoid these at all costs. I’d rather weight in a queue xx

  4. March 17, 2019 / 9:27 pm

    I have a love-hate relationship with self-service tills. I always seem to get something that doesn’t scan or needs approval

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